Taking Back Sunday - Louder Now
Release Date: April 25th, 2006
Record Label: Warner Bros
“So scream louder now.” That may be a line from “Bonus Mosh Pt. 2” on Taking Back Sunday’s last album, Where You Want To Be, but maybe it was also a glimpse into the future; a prophecy perhaps. Not only is Louder Now the title of Taking Back Sunday’s third album and major label debut (Warner Bros.), but that’s exactly what the band is, um, now. Literally, their new songs are louder, intense, fast; they sound epic. Figuratively, this band is making an even bigger mark and louder statement. Take notice.
Let’s clear the air first, though. We all know how I feel about Tell All You Friends; one of my all-time favorite albums, classic, life changing, molded the way I look at music, yada yada yada. Some people seem to be confused on my stance with Where You Want To Be, though. Well, to make a long story short, I think it was a good album that got way more criticism than it deserved. Yes, there were certain elements about it that I weren’t particularly fond of (production), and there were one or two songs that didn’t do much for me. Clearly, I’m not just a Taking Back Sunday fan boy; I can honestly assess the music and give an honest opinion about what I think and feel. With that being said, my thoughts, ideas and opinions on Louder Now are coming solely as a music lover.
So, now that that’s behind us, we can get started. Let me first say, this album is not Where You Want To Be Part 2, in fact, it’s light years better. “What’s It Feel Like To Be A Ghost?” is the album’s opening track, which was a perfect choice. Raunchy swaying guitars, stuttering drums and some sexy bass intensify in the few opening seconds setting the vibe and mood for the whole record; right away any worries I had about Eric Valentine’s production are put to rest. Adam comes in right on cue with the first verse with his voice sounding confident and better than ever. A line or two later Fred jumps in to give his input. Is it me, or do their two voices compliment each other extremely well? Throughout the chorus the two ask, “are you up for this,” and I think it’s safe to say we are. We’re ready; give us everything you got. The song then simmers down to a bridge with hesitating drums and wavelike guitar with Adam stating “…there might be something you may like…”, and he’s right, it’s what I’m hearing. The bridge ends exactly the way the song started and kicks back into gear. If this is what it feels like to be a ghost, then it feels damn good.
”MakeDamnSure,” the album’s first single, is full of verses that, structurally speaking and because of the vocal melodies, remind me of Northstar. Adam confesses “you are everything I want, because you are everything I’m not” while Matt’s bass sounds thick, coating the song with a groove that plays off the drums perfectly. The vocals during the lyrics in the chorus (“I just want to bring you down so badly”) and bridge (“You won’t ever get too far from me”) couldn’t have been captured any better, and showcase the emotion, honesty and desperation (what I felt was missing throughout most of Where You Want To Be) of what’s being said; making you actually believe you’re hearing a plea of some sort.
”My Blue Heaven” not only reminds me of that Rick Moranis and Steve Martin movie from a few years back, but also everything that I’ve always loved about Taking Back Sunday. Violin and cello lace the cutting guitar while the melancholy lyrics and vocals set a “coming to grips” sort of feel, especially with such lines as “sometimes it just feels better to give in.” This song makes me sigh, push repeat and listen even more closely the next time around. It’s probably one of the most sincere, honest tracks on the album and something about it strikes and moves something deep within me. But Taking Back Sunday has always been known to strike an emotional chord, no?
Moving ahead you’ll come to a song entitled “Spin.” The first preview of new material the public got was just a brief clip of this song; right away many people were comparing it to Circa Survive and Anthony Green due to the song’s structure and the way Adam was singing. Well, I’ll just say right off the bat, I can’t think of any better comparison. This to me, though, is a bit more intense. Adam hits his highest pitch then drops his voice (by the way, the things he does with his voice throughout the whole record is amazing) with Fred echoing a few seconds later doing the same combined with riveting guitar and mile-a-minute thunderous drums. It feels like someone is trying to shake me, or wake me up perhaps. Someone is trying to get through to you, trying to get you to listen, as you’re reminded over and over “you had your chance.” The cherry on top for this track would definitely be the solo that glides in out of nowhere.
”Divine Intervention” is what some may feel is the obligatory acoustic track, but the band went further than you could imagine with this one. They took everything I thought “New American Classic” should have had and put it in there while taking out everything I didn’t like about that song. Brutally honest and sincere, everything about this track seems like an open confession with nothing but the truth saturating it. Simply beautiful.
”I’ll Let You Live,” just like the album opener, was a perfect choice for putting it where it lies. The intro makes me want to rip the sleeves off my t-shirt and do a pole dance. Ok, that might be a disturbing thought for, well, all of you, but the tone and melody of the guitar is dirty (invoking a manly strut) and very reminiscent to classic rock bands in their day. This is one of my favorite tracks and stands way out from among the others. Perfect closer.
I thought the production on Where You Want To Be caused it to lose a lot of emotion I know this band is capable of; however, the production on Louder Now brings the band back to their heart-string-pulling-selves. Taking Back Sunday is back and has redefined itself. The line-up has settled in and each member has found their place in the band. It’s amazing how much you can tell each individual contributed to the songwriting process and to see how far along the songwriting has come. My only complaint is that even though “Error Operator” has been redone and made better, it still seems out of place and somewhat interrupts the flow of the album. It, in my opinion, just sounds like it doesn’t fit or belong. Also, the chorus of “Twenty Twenty Surgery” isn’t nearly as good as the verses and kind of brings down the song a notch or two. Aside from that, though, the tracklisting and flow of this album is superb, and as soon as it’s done I have to replay it. Everything about this effort is passionate, confident, real and makes me smile. It feels good knowing that this band did nothing but prove my notion that this album--this line-up’s second release--would make the world take notice and prove just how amazing a group of musicians they are. It’s scary to think about what these guys might come up with next; however, in the meantime, they’re back on top.
i cant believe you didnt mention liar (it takes two)...that song is unbelievable, reminds me of the police
"Twenty Twenty Surgery" reminds me of The Police more so, which like I said, the chorus just brings it down a notch or two.
Anyway, "Liar" is a great, strong track as well, but I was trying to showcase and highlight my main favorites. Like, that review there is cut down from an even lengthier one -- I didn't want people to have to read a book. Haha.